The theory of conceptual change: how to teach science?

The theory of conceptual change: how to teach science?

Scientific subjects involve significant cognitive efforts for many students. This is mainly due to the need for a thorough understanding of the content. Objective that many current teaching methods are far from achieving. Thea psycholThe school of education has therefore created the theory of conceptual change. The latter offers a series of knowledge on how to teach science.

An essential aspect for understanding scientific training is to understand thatthe subject has intuitive theories about the world.The child does not arrive at school like an empty bag before receiving information about the functioning of his environment. He already has his theories on this subject. These intuitive theories are probably wrong. It also conditions new learning. It is therefore necessary that teachers take this aspect into account.

Phases of Conceptual Change Theory

We will illustrate here how to develop a deep understanding of science in students. We will explain to do thisthe three phases of the theory of conceptual change:

  • Recognition of an anomaly
  • Building a new model
  • Use of the new model

Recognition of an anomaly

This is the first step for a student to develop a deep understanding of a fact. The task of the teacher is to break with the intuitive theory of the student. The latter mustatbandaging his old ideas and discovering why they are wrong.

Subsequent learning will be affected if the intuitive theory is maintained the student will modify or reject it. This will often result in a superficial learning of science. The intuitive theory should not necessarily be abandoned by the student. heIt is therefore essential to pay attention to the preconceived ideas of a course so that the teaching will make students aware of their mistakes.

Conceptual change theory proposestwo methods to reach this goal.The first of these would bedirect experimentation: if the student himself finds that his intuitive theory is false, it will greatly help him to recognize the anomaly.

The other method is debate. The teacher challenges the students' misconceptions through a healthy and constructive dialogue.This method is very useful to awaken in them the critical vision of the facts.

Building a new model

Once the intuitive theory of the student has been dismantled,the next step is to give him a new explanation. It is important for the student to build the appropriate model himself in order to assimilate it. It will be difficult to truly understand how a scientific fact develops if the teacher simply exposes it during a lecture. This will probably result in superficial learning and pure memorization.

Constructivist paradigmspropose that the pupil be the one who builds the knowledge.The role of the teacher would be to guide the teacher as he explores different possibilities. It is a complicated teaching technique but offers incredible results. We can not do without it.

It is even more complex to implement it in class with regard to the number of students.A proven and effective method to achieve this is the generation of debate among students.They would be the ones who would refute and expand the theories and ideas they had. The teacher's role here would be to prepare the materials and resources for the debate. To act as a guide to keep students away from mistakes.

This step is the most difficult of the theory of conceptual change. Deep understanding is done here. TheTeachers must therefore be well trained in the use of this type of teaching model.

Use of the new model

It would not make sense to mark errors and build a new model if it did not apply to future problems.The final step in the process is to teach students to use their new theory. So doing exercises or dealing with situations that involve the use of new knowledge will be very helpful for students.

heIt is also essential that this new model be integrated and linked to previous knowledge.The correct application of all knowledge implies to consider it from a broad point of view based on other areas of knowledge.

To conclude.The theory of conceptual change provides us with a widely validated teaching technique with incredible results. We can not wait to apply techniques like this in the classroom if we really want students who understand the content in depth and know how to use it in a critical and constructive way.

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